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[kap-i-tl] /ˈkæp ɪ tl/
the building in Washington, D.C., used by the Congress of the U.S. for its sessions.
(often lowercase) a building occupied by a state legislature.
the ancient temple of Jupiter at Rome, on the Capitoline.
the Capitoline.
Origin of Capitol
1690-1700, Americanism; < Latin capitōlium temple of Jupiter on Capitoline hill, Rome, taken to be a derivative of caput head; replacing Middle English capitolie < Old North French
Can be confused
capital, Capitol (see usage note at capital)
Usage note
See capital1. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Capitol
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If you want to know what New York State is like you want to find out how much the Capitol building there cost.

  • He had his own ship on a line with the Capitol in a matter of seconds.

    The Hammer of Thor Charles Willard Diffin
  • It was in the latter part of April, 1833, that they reached the Capitol, under the escort of an officer of the army.

  • Congress had voted money for mural paintings for the rotunda of the Capitol.

    The Age of Invention Holland Thompson
  • A few days later, while what Carlotta had said was fresh in my mind, he overtook me walking to the Capitol.

    The Plum Tree David Graham Phillips
British Dictionary definitions for Capitol


  1. another name for the Capitoline
  2. the temple on the Capitoline
the Capitol, the main building of the US Congress
(sometimes not capital) Also called statehouse. (in the US) the building housing any state legislature
Word Origin
C14: from Latin Capitōlium, from caput head
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for Capitol

"building where U.S. Congress meets," 1793 (in writings of Thomas Jefferson), from Latin Capitolium, temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on the Capitoline Hill in ancient Rome. Used earlier of Virginia state houses (1699). Its use in American public architecture deliberately evokes Roman republican imagery. With reference to the Roman citadel, it is recorded in English from late 14c., via Old North French capitolie. Relationship of Capitoline to capital is likely but not certain.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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